SPOTSWOOD, NJ – Before the sun even kisses the sky in the morning, a group of borough moms lace up the sneakers to head out and hit the road to exercise. The Sole Sisters are a walking group that started back in the spring. It’s a no-judgment, encouragement-only zone where the growing collection of walkers/runners get healthy one step at a time.
Suzanne Krainski spearheaded the Sole Sisters in March after her company began a step-into-spring challenge. Krainski was solo at first on her morning walks, but soon decided to branch out and invite others to come along.
“In April, other moms joined me and I formed the Sole Sisters,” Krainski explained. “I started walking to loose weight and lower my blood pressure. We meet every morning to do a 3.7 mile walk/jog.”
The group began walking mostly, but now does a combination that includes jogging as they gear up for the Laurita 5K in October. Many members of the Sole Sisters will also be taking part in the upcoming Spotswood 5K on September 8. To date, the group has fifteen members with two more moms joining the group on August 20 for the first time.
In addition to Krainski, the Sole Sisters are comprised of Lara Krefski, Helen Jaklitsch, Melissa Torres, Angela Hilse, Melyssa Lewis, Phyliss Snyder, Lori Donelan, Stephanie Gonnella, Mary Leaver, Annie DiRenzo, Jennifer Korneski, Annette Zaborney, Jenalyn Engstrom and Courtney Williams. Williams and Engstrom are the newest members of the Sole Sisters.
“Every time I post on Facebook,” Krainski said. “We always get more walkers. Such a great form of exercise. Many of us, including myself, don’t enjoy working out indoors.”
Each member of the Sole Sisters has a different reason for joining. However, they all agree the group is amazing and an excellent way to start the day.
“For me it is about reaching goals at this age that I never thought I could reach,” said Leaver.
The mom of three loves the self-confidence and self-esteem the Sole Sisters give to one another.
“There is nothing better then getting up and getting a workout done,” Hilse said. “I love walking with friends and at 4:40 a.m. when the alarm goes off I am too tired to make excuses not to go.”
“We push each other and encourage each other,” Donelan said. “Walking with other women there is a sense of knowing you’re a part of something so you don’t want to let anyone down.”
Donelan started with the Sole Sisters in June when the school year ended and was thrilled to see how supportive everyone was when she joined.
“If I have trouble keeping up, one of my sisters will hang back with me so I’m not alone,” Donelan continued. “Without fail they encourage me and tell me what a good job I’m doing when I’m feeling like I’m not good enough. I love this group and look forward to walking every morning. I’ve added a mini-workout when I get home and we’re doing 5K’s too! I never though I would be able to do that.”
Like Donelan, most of the members found out about the Sole Sisters from Facebook. After reaching out to Krainski, they were warmly welcomed. The group has a designated meeting spot in the borough, which members either drive or walk to depending of where they live. The Sole Sisters also have a group text where everyone checks in the night before, saying whether they are in or out for the following morning.
“I am not a morning person,” Krefski said. “It’s very motivating having someone else to work out with because these ladies are all getting up and walking two hours before I normally get up and I know they are depending on me. It encourages me to get up and join them.”
“Walking has been great for my health and I find I have more energy during the day,” Krekski added. “We all encourage each other and cheer each other on when we complete each running section.”
“We are dedicated to our own fitness goals but we encourage and support one another as well,” Zaborney said. “It has brought us together as moms, community and women with a mutual goal.”
“Being a Sole Sister has evolved from a group of moms walking to so much more,” Korneski said. “If it were not for this group of awesome women I would not get up at 4:40 to walk on my own. Having a group to do anything with holds accountability and encouragement. I’m so proud of everyone for their dedication and commitment. I haven’t run a 5K in 20 years so it’s exciting we are going to do that together too. Thank you to Suzie for starting this group and bringing us together. I love the walking, but more that we get to know other moms in town, build new friendships and share this journey together. I would not want to start my day any other way then with my Sole Sisters!”